Definition of towhee in English:



  • A North American songbird of the bunting family, typically with brownish plumage but sometimes black and rufous.

    Genus Pipilo (and Chlorurus), family Emberizidae (subfamily Emberizinae): several species

    • ‘Not only is the Cape flush with cardinals, towhees, mockingbirds, catbirds, goldfinches and woodpeckers, its birds of the shore entice many a visitor here.’
    • ‘So, next time you go birding and spot the reddish-brown flanks of a towhee, call it like you see it.’
    • ‘Many birds feed comfortably on a platform, especially the sparrows, juncos, towhees and doves that are referred to as ground feeders.’
    • ‘Invariably, the winter sparrows head north again to resume their breeding activities, and I am left to enjoy my resident species, such as the spotted towhee, California towhee, scrub jay, and California thrasher.’
    • ‘I can hear the songs of migrating birds: phoebes, white-throated sparrows, towhees, catbirds, chipping sparrows.’


Mid 18th century: imitative of the call of Pipilo erythrophthalmus.